Students 'Discover Public Health' at conference [University of Texas]
“UT students studying in the science and medical fields had the opportunity to learn more about public health and debunk common myths Wednesday at ‘Become a Disease Detective: Discover Public Health!’ […]The event featured representatives from 18 schools of public health, 12 scientific presentations, free books and a tour of a Mobile Analytical Laboratory System operated by the Texas National Guard's Sixth Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Team. […]one goal of the event was to change what people understand about public health.” (The Daily Texan; 03Apr08; Katie Quinn).
New Report Finds Midwestern States Receive Least Federal Support for Public Health
“Midwestern states receive less funding from the CDC than other states, at an average of $16.24 per person. Western states receive the second least, with an average of $19.74 per person. Northeastern states receive an average of $23.37 per person. Southern states receive the most CDC funding, with an average of $29.40 per person. Federal funding for disease and injury prevention programs in states averages out to be $17.23 per person for fiscal year (FY) 2007. However, CDC funding for individual states can vary by more than $56 per person, according to the analysis.” (Trust for America’s Health; 02Apr08).
State, federal officials to mark completion of Ricketts Laboratory [University of Chicago]
“On Sunday, April 6, representatives from the University Medical Center, Argonne National Laboratories, the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Institutes of Health and the State of Illinois will cut a ribbon to celebrate the upcoming completion of the Howard T. Ricketts Regional Biocontainment Laboratory, located at Argonne. […] ‘The express purpose and specific design of the laboratory is to generate the very best science and technology in a safe, central, state-of-the-art facility to produce drugs, vaccines and diagnostic devices to counter bioterrorism and emerging infectious diseases,’ said Olaf Schneewind, Professor and Chair of Microbiology, who heads the project. ‘Few laboratories in the United States are capable of safely working on multiple microbes that cause diseases such as anthrax or plague.’” (The University of Chicago Chronicle; 03Apr08; John Easton).
EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] and DHS [Department of Homeland Security] to Co-host Conference to Address High Priority Technical Challenges for Assessing Risk Exposure to Pathogens April 8-10, Bethesda, MD
“The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are teaming up to hold a three-day conference to address the real-world applications, technical challenges and solutions for conducting microbiological risk assessments.” (EPA Newsroom; 03Apr08).
Homeland project addresses outbreaks [Fort Bend, Texas]
“MRC's [Fort Bend County Medical Reserve Corps] purpose is to protect county residents in case of a bioterrorism or epidemic event, and the HPP helps organizations such as MRC prepare for various types of disasters by training volunteers. John Holleman, Richmond-Rosenberg HPP consultant, said medications have been stockpiled since 1999, and in case of a health emergency a 747 jet will transport medication to the Point of Distribution (POD) site. […] the local MRC is currently recruiting qualified individuals to build a strong volunteer base.” (Fort Bend Herald; 03Apr08; Marquita Griffin).
Site-Selection Process for Lab to be discussed [New York State]
“The Department of Homeland Security has scheduled an April 15 meeting in Southold to discuss the site-selection process for a new laboratory that would replace or supplement the Plum Island Animal Disease Center [North Fork, New York]. […] While the current lab studies foreign animal diseases like foot-and-mouth that are not contagious for humans, the new lab will be a ‘Bio-Safety Level 4’ facility that would work with pathogens potentially fatal to humans, such as anthrax and botulism.” (Newsday; 03Apr08; Bill Bleyer).
Biolab follies [Boston University Medical Center]
“Boston University Medical Center (BUMC) may still end up hosting a BSL-4 [Biosafety Level 4] facility, but this is hardly the sure thing it once was. In fact, given the current momentum of the debate, the smart money might actually be on the biolab not coming to fruition, at least as it was originally conceived.” (The Phoenix; 02Apr08; Adam Reilly).
'Anthrax' graffiti prompts probe at Port of Long Beach [California]
“Hazardous-materials teams investigating a cargo container that arrived at the Port of Long Beach this morning marked with black graffiti saying ‘Anthrax a gift from Osama’ found no initial signs of contaminants. […]Two teams conducted atmospheric monitoring tests of the inside of the container, and also swabbed surfaces for trace minerals, but found no signs of anthrax or other toxic chemicals, said Long Beach Fire Battalion Chief Frank Hayes.” (Los Angeles Times; 03Apr08; Molly Hennessy-Fiske).
US Department of Defense to adopt UB [University of Buffalo, New York] invention
“The BioBlower, a recently-patented air sterilization technology developed at UB, will be used by the US military to immediately destroy airborne biological pathogens in the air. […] The device sterilizes a continuous flow of air via compressive heating - the very same process that heats up a tire when it is inflated, according to James F. Garvey, professor of chemistry and co-founder of Buffalo BioBlower Technologies, a UB spin-off company. […]The Buffalo BioBlower project is funded by the US Department of Defense, the New York State Foundation for Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR), UB's Office of Science Technology and Economic Outreach and the UB Center for Advanced Biomedical and Bioengineering Technology.” (The Spectrum; 04Apr08; Nicole Difasi).
During CSEPP drill SFD stands out [Stuttgart Fire Department, in Stuttgart, Arizona]
“The Stuttgart Fire Department finished among the top tier at last Wednesday’s Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program (CSEPP) drill that was held in Stuttgart.” (Stuttgart Daily Leader; 03Apr08; Leigh Kreimeier).
Man Accused of Cover-Up in Ricin Probe [Salt Lake City, Utah in connection with Las Vegas case]
“The cousin of a man who may have been sickened by the deadly toxin ricin has been accused of failing to report that the substance was being illegally produced. Thomas Tholen, 54, was indicted by a federal grand jury on the charge of misprision of felony — having knowledge of a crime but failing to report it.” (Associated Press; 03Apr08; Paul Foy).
N.S. cabinet minister’s office cordoned off after suspicious powder found [Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada]
“Authorities cordoned off Immigration Minister Len Goucher’s constituency office in the Halifax area Wednesday afternoon after one of his employees opened an envelope containing suspicious white powder. […] ‘There was an envelope delivered to the MLA’s office with some white powder in it. It was opened and exposed one of the people in the office,’ [Capt. Brad Connors of the Halifax fire department.] Connors said. […]’The police and fire came in to test it. It came up negative for anthrax, and there were a couple other things that they test for. Now we’re just going through a little bit of a decontamination process in the office.’” (Truro Daily News; 04Apr08; Canadian Press).
Chemical agent destruction behind schedule [Richmond, Kentucky]
“Plans have fallen behind schedule to destroy 157 gallons of chemical agent stored at the Blue Grass Army Depot. Destruction of the nerve agent GB, commonly known as sarin, was set to begin in March after workers discovered last year that it was leaking from its storage container. […]In December, Blue Grass Chemical Activity officials outlined plans to drain, neutralize and remove the GB by May. The project, called Operation Swift Solution, will cost about $1.7 million and was scheduled to take 80 days to complete. Flamm [Kevin Flamm, program manager for Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives] said he might have been ‘overly optimistic’ in setting a March start date, but still hopes to finish sometime in May.”
(Lexington Herald-Leader; 03Apr08; Ashlee Clark).
Institute/USA: Bayer plant still home to MIC [methyl isocyanate] stockpile [West Virginia]
“At Bayer's Institute/West Virginia plant large quantities of the highly toxic chemicals methyl isocyanate (MIC) and phosgene are produced and stored. […]The Coalition against Bayer Dangers introduced a countermotion to Bayer’s Annual Stockholders’ Meeting which demands not to ratify the board until the stockpiles are dismantled and the frequent spills of hazardous substances are stopped. The countermotion will be discussed in the meeting at Cologne/Germany on April 25.” (News Blaze; 03Apr08).
Iran to Attend Chemical Weapons Convention
“The delegation from Iran's Society for Chemical Weapons Victims Support (SCWVS) seeks to raise international awareness about the medical, psychological, social and environmental effects of chemical warfare […]” (Fars News Agency; 04Apr08).
Pakistan committed to non-proliferation of WMDs’
“Foreign Secretary Riaz Muhammad Khan on Thursday inaugurated Wide Area Network (WAN) of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) Implementation Mechanism during a function at the Foreign Affairs Ministry, said a press release. […]It said Pakistan had to transmit data relating to import/export of certain categories of chemicals on annual basis to the OPCW and the establishment of the CWC Implementation Mechanism underscored its commitment to the non-proliferation of […] WMD.” (Daily Times, Pakistan; 04Apr08).
U.S., Russia at Odds on Key Arms Issues
“Although unable to resolve their major disputes, the two sides vowed to continue work initiated last year on a ‘strategic framework document,’ which Rice said would ‘record all of the elements of the U.S.-Russia relationship.’ She cited as key examples joint projects to combat nuclear terrorism and provide nuclear fuel assurances to states forgoing uranium-enrichment and plutonium reprocessing capabilities that can be used to make nuclear bombs.” (Arms Control Association; 03Apr08; Wade Boese).
Nuclear terrorism remains a threat
“DHS Undersecretary for Intelligence and Analysis Charles Allen said during testimony Wednesday before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs that the threat of a terrorist obtaining nuclear material remains a constant concern. However, Allen estimated that the technical challenges of actually detonating an improvised nuclear devise in the United States remain a significant obstacle to terrorists […].” (United Press International; 03Apr08).
CNS ChemBio-WMD Terrorism News is prepared by the Chemical and Biological Weapons Nonproliferation Program of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies in order to bring timely and focused information to researchers and policymakers interested in the fields of chemical, biological, and radiological weapons nonproliferation and WMD terrorism.